When it comes to attracting venture capital deals and dollars, Ohio finds itself ranked in the top 20 states — and sometimes the top 15, a new report says.
Last year, Ohio saw $256.6 million in venture-capital deals, down from $400.3 million deals in 2015, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and CB Insights.
The 2016 number was down, too, from the 2014 mark of nearly $307.7 million in deals and down from the nearly $370 million achieved in 2013, the report says.
In fact, the 2016 number is the lowest since Ohio saw nearly $156.5 million in deals in 2011.
But there’s nothing wrong with Ohio from PwC’s perspective, said Tom Ciccolella, that company’s San Francisc0-based venture capital leader.
2016 was down nationally compared to other years, he noted. 2014 was a strong year. “I think a pullback at some level was to be expected for the ‘16 year,” Ciccolella said.
Still, deals are happening, he said, cautioning against reading too much into a single quarter or year.
“I think a lot of the times the money is kind of funnelled into specific geographies,” Ciccolella said in an interview. California, for example, tends to reign supreme in getting the biggest deals.
Ohio ranked No. 14 in the first quarter of 2017 in the number of noted venture capital deals. The Buckeye State ranked at No. 19 in the total number of dollars pulled in.
And for the final quarter of 2016, Ohio was No. 11 in number of deals achieved.
“I see that kind of fluctuation across all kinds of different states,” Ciccolella said.
He said Ohio’s venture ecosystem “has been strong historically. I don’t think it’s an easy uproot from one geography to the next. It’s all dependent on quarter to quarter.”
Bruce Langos, a former Teradata executive and a member of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, pointed to Drive Capital in Columbus as an example of a strong Ohio venture capital group that drives deals.
The Cleveland Clinic, Ohio State University, the University of Dayton Research Institute and other strong universities also encourage ventures, he said.
“It’s a good place to be actually,” Langos said of Ohio.
The biggest venture capital investment in Ohio in the first quarter of 2017 went to Blue Ash’s Aerpio Pharmaceuticals, which drew $40 million in the realm of drug development.
Nationally, though 2016 ended on what PwC called a “weak note,” investment in U.S. venture-backed companies climbed in the first quarter, according to the report.
Investors put $13.9 billion into start-up companies across 1,104 deals, up 15 percent in dollars and 2 percent in deals from the final quarter of 2016, the report said.
“These figures represent a slight recovery from Q4 2016, where start up investment figures bottomed out as part of an ongoing retreat from the peaks of 2015,” the report said.
American “megadeals” rose to 17 in the first quarter up from only 12 the previous quarter.
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